Southern butterflies in SE Michigan

Roger Kuhlman rkuhlman at
Fri Nov 6 12:56:56 EST 1998

In doing my butterfly surveys in SE Michigan in 1998 I seemed to have 
observed unprecedented numbers of southernly butterflies. Buckeyes 
(Junonia coenia), Fiery Skippers (Hyp phyleus), and Little Yellows 
(Eurema lisa)were common with the first specimens showing up in the 
beginning of summer and continuing until late October. Most of the Fiery 
Skippers observed were males but the sex composition of the Little 
Yellows appeared more balanced. It is possible that the Little Yellows 
formed a local breeding colony at Crosswinds Marsh (Western Wayne 
county)because that is the only place I consistently found these 
butterflies throughout the period and they were in sizable numbers.

In addition to the Buckeyes, Fiery Skippers, and Little Yellows I have 
also found smaller numbers of Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui) and 
Variegated Fritillaries (Euptoieta claudia) and have heard of a report 
of well-seen Gulf Fritillary(Agraulis vanillae) in SE Michigan.

My question is whether this southernly invasion was exceptional in 
either magnitude or variety? I know each of these butterflies has been 
seen in the past in southern Michigan but this year seems different. Can 
anyone help me with some historical records? I would like to write an 
article about these southern immigrants for a local birding journal if 
event was truly unusual.

Roger Kuhlman
Ann Arbor, Michigan

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